How to format your references using the Nature Cell Biology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Nature Cell Biology. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Johns, A. When authorship met authenticity. Nature 451, 1058–1059 (2008).
A journal article with 2 authors
Trimble, S. W. & Crosson, P. LAND USE: U.S. Soil Erosion Rates--Myth and Reality. Science 289, 248–250 (2000).
A journal article with 3 authors
Kirchner, J. W., Feng, X. & Neal, C. Fractal stream chemistry and its implications for contaminant transport in catchments. Nature 403, 524–527 (2000).
A journal article with 6 or more authors
Pellegrini, L., Burke, D. F., von Delft, F., Mulloy, B. & Blundell, T. L. Crystal structure of fibroblast growth factor receptor ectodomain bound to ligand and heparin. Nature 407, 1029–1034 (2000).

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Parashar, R. K. Reaction Mechanisms in Organic Synthesis. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008).
An edited book
Success Stories in Asian Aquaculture. (Springer Netherlands, 2010).
A chapter in an edited book
Nakajima, K. Economic Geography and Interfirm Transaction Networks. in The Economics of Interfirm Networks (eds. Watanabe, T., Uesugi, I. & Ono, A.) 95–106 (Springer Japan, 2015).

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for Nature Cell Biology.

Blog post
Hale, T. Grainy Footage Fuels Rumor That Extinct Tasmanian Tiger Lives On. IFLScience (2016). Available at: (Accessed: 30th October 2018)


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. Commercial Aviation: Program Aimed at High-Risk Parent Abductors Could Aid in Preventing Abductions. (U.S. Government Printing Office, 2011).

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Llerena, K. The social behaviors and emotional characteristics of individuals elevated on social anhedonia. (University of Maryland, College Park, 2010).

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Koblin, J. Amazon Executive Resigns After Harassment Claim. New York Times B6 (2017).

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in superscript:

This sentence cites one reference 1.
This sentence cites two references 1,2.
This sentence cites four references 1–4.

About the journal

Full journal titleNature Cell Biology
AbbreviationNat. Cell Biol.
ISSN (print)1465-7392
ISSN (online)1476-4679
ScopeCell Biology

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